Listen to this interview of Josh Coleman by Marlena Fiol author of “Nothing Bad Between Us”
Listen to the full podcast here:
The following is a taste of my conversation with Josh.
Q: Will you comment on some cultural shifts that have impacted families?
Josh: One of the biggest cultural shifts has been the way that the individual has become dis-embedded from the family and dis-embedded from the institutions that governed and animated family life really throughout millennia.
Q: In what ways does estrangement often feel different to parents than it does to their adult children?”
Josh: For the adult child it’s tied to a narrative of liberation from oppressive figures, of pursuit of happiness, of strength, autonomy. For the parent, it’s all downside. It’s failing at life’s most important task.
Q: Are some acts simply unforgiveable?
Josh: We’re all products of our own childhoods, our own past, our own traumas, our own genetics, our own class, our own good luck, and bad luck. And so, I think that there is a moral argument to be made to work towards a position of forgiveness, even for those who hurt us the most.
Q: Do you believe it’s true that when we miss the chance for real reconciliation, we miss the chance to heal?
Josh: I do, and that’s the kind of society that I would like to live in. I think we’ve become so preoccupied with happiness and individuality that we’ve lost sight of the importance of connection.
When asked if there’s one last thing he’d like our listeners to hear, Josh says, “The thing that I want parents to have the most is self-compassion and self-forgiveness.”
Dr. Joshua Coleman is an internationally known expert in parenting, families and relationships. He is a psychologist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area and a Senior Fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families, a non-partisan organization of leading sociologists, historians, psychologists and demographers dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best-practice findings about American families. He has lectured at Harvard University, The University of California at Berkeley, The University of London and Cornell Weill Medical School. He has weekly webinars for estranged parents and blogs on parent-adult child relationships for the U.C. Berkeley publication, Greater Good Magazine.
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A Mennonite Missionary’s Daughter Finds Healing in Her Brokenness
This story differs from similar accounts of childhood domination or abuse because it tells the story of the author’s seemingly paradoxical responses to the powerful forces in my life, but doesn’t leave it at that. It sheds light on the social and religious dynamics underlying these responses, giving readers insights into and understanding of her otherwise incomprehensible choices, as she found my way back into loving relationships with her parents and the Mennonite community.